In addition to his Thursday column, Duff McKagan is now answering reader questions throughout the week. Write to him at . Find all of


Question for Duff: Business Considerations Aside, Is Appetite Better On CD or Vinyl?

In addition to his Thursday column, Duff McKagan is now answering reader questions throughout the week. Write to him at Find all of Duff's posts here.
Q: I recently received a primo condition copy of (Guns N' Roses') Appetite For Destruction on vinyl that I bought from some serious collector dude in Kentucky who is selling all his wax and moving to a music server. He has his reasons, but I am sad for him...

It's been awhile since I've heard this album in it's analogue form; through a diamond and some high powered vintage era stereo-wars kit, and it sounds so fucking awesome it's making my pubic hairs stand on end. Which makes me wonder: What's your take on the analogue vs. digital debate? Do you have a preference when it comes to the formats? I'm not talking about what you have to do to sell music these days -- I'm asking if you have a preference when it comes to sitting down for some serious listening.

For yucks, I just A/B'd the two versions through the same system and I gotta tell you that to my admittedly Lizzy-chromed ear canals, the vinyl has an almost 3-D quality and sonic signature that is absent in my compact disc version. The vinyl sounds better and it's not even close.

Am I just showing my age here being ancient and cranky about the superiority of the old ways, or is there something to be said for that chunky old analogue sound? -- El Hugo

Duff: Yeah, well, in a whole shit-ton of ways, digital music fucking killed my business.

Back when CD's first came out, I had just started making real money in GNR. I had the best turntable and amps and speakers that money could buy, and I remember Slash and I going to a CD store on Ventura Blvd. to buys some CDs and a couple of CD players. This store had everything, and I remember just starting from 'A' and ending at 'Z', filling up a whole shopping cart while basically re-stocking everything I had on vinyl.

It seemed like this was cutting edge shit, and that I was at the forefront of the technology...until I got home and realized it ALL sounded like shit compared to my vinyl. Anyone who says different, must just be so used to every bit of a digital track being used up, that actual 'space' in a song, must sound weird and maybe archaic.

But back then, we didn't realize that this was just a game being played by the major labels to do what Slash and I had fell hook, line, and sinker for; re-buying ALL of their product! Multiply that by everyone on this planet, and you are talking about trillions of dollars! What the major label powers were too short-sighted and greedy to realize is that home computers were becoming more and more popular, and that digital bits and pieces could be sent back and forth between users.

The artist is STILL the one paying the ultimate price. With gas prices up so high, no one selling CDs, and lower ticket prices EVERYWHERE, it will be a miracle to have any other choice but seeing local bands for awhile. In Seattle, though, that ain't such a bad thing!

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